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thine eye shall have no pity upon them ; neither shalt thou serve their gods ; for that will be a, snare unto thee. If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I, how can I dispossess them? Thou fhalt not be afraid of them ; but shalt we!l remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt: The great temptations which thine eyes law, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched-out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out; so fhail the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little : thou mayest not consume them at once, left the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he Ihall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to ftand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, left thou be fnared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shade utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.
DISCOURSE VII. Of the miraculous Events from the
Time of Joshua to the Babylonish Captivity.
He established a testimony in Jacob, and apo
pointed a law in Israel, which he commanded to our fathers, that they should make them known to their children, that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise, and declare them to their children, that they might set their hope in
God, and not forget the works of God, but . keep his commandments.
Psalm lxxviii. 5, 6, 7.
In the preceding Discourses I laid before you the evidence of the divine mission of Moses, and the credibility of the miraculous events which accompanied the deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in
Egypt, and their settlement in the land of Canaan. These miracles were strictly connected with the promulgation of a system of religion essentially different from any that prevailed in the world at that time, and infinitely superior to them all; consisting in the worship of the one true God, the maker of heaven and earth, and the supreme disposer of all eyents; a religion which admitted into its rites nothing impure or cruel, and which was eminently subservient to the practice of moral virtue, It was a religion free from the absurd, but then universally prevalent, arts of divina. tion, magic, and necromancy; but which supplied the people from time to time with real prophets, who announced to them the will of God, and occasionally foretold things to come.
By this means the Israelites were for ever prevented from wholly abandoning their religion, though, deceived by the same fallacious appearances which led the rest of the world into the worship of a multiplicity of deities, and fascinated by the licentious rites of their religions, the ma
jority of the nation frequently conformed to the worship of their heathen neighbours. It by no means appears that the nation in general ever disbelieved the miraculous events recorded in the books of Mofes, or the supreme divinity of the God of their fathers; but they were willing to think that, consistently with this, they might be indulged in the worship of inferior deities, and derive both pleasure and advantage from the rites to which all the great nations around them were addicted. After any general or long continued neglect of their religion, they were, in a course of an extraordinary providence, brought back to it by severe judgments. But the same influence which deceived the rest of the world in time affected them as before, till the long captivity in Babylon, and what they had an opportunity of observing there, effectually cured them of all proneness to idolatry.
Some think these relapses of the Ifraelites into idolatry, after the many miracles to which their ancestors had been witneffes, absolutely incredible. But it should
be considered, that this defection to idolatry, to which they had been addicted in Egypt, did not take place till after the death of Joshua and his cotemporaries, that is, while the miraculous events were recent; and that the Israelites did not, in general, do more than join the worship of other Gods to that of their own. Also, whatever they might have been taught by Moses, or independently of him, concerning a future state, the proper object of his institutions was temporal prosperity; and they saw other nations flourishing not. withstanding their idolatry. They might, therefore, cherish the hope that prosperity was not necessarily connected with the observance of their peculiar institutions, especially as their calamity did not follow their defection very speedily, but by slow degrees.
Do not many Christians think, and act, much in the same manner? How many real believers in Christianity indulge themselves in practices which they know to be forbidden by it, either with the secret hope of after repentance, or willing to think that M 4